Understanding Email Marketing Open Rates by James Trumbly @econnectemail

Understanding Email Marketing Open Rates by James Trumbly

In a climate dominated by social media services, it’s more important than ever that your email marketing campaign is targeting the right audience with the right message. In order to avoid getting lost in the shuffle of RSS feeds, Twitter posts, Facebook updates, and blogging, you need to know that your email recipients are opening your emails and that they’re being impacted by the information contained in your messages. You can monitor the email activity of your subscribers using the reports functions available through eConnect Email, but the information will only be helpful if you know what you’re looking at and how you can use those results to modify your strategy.

What is the Significance of Open Rates?

When most people checked their email by sitting at a desk and opening each message they wanted to view, you could take open rates pretty much at face value, using the percentages to determine how many people were reading your emails. These days, however, a lot of factors can affect your open rate percentages. For instance, an email might not be recorded as opened if the subscriber checks it on his mobile phone, if he checks it with HTML turned off, or if he views it only in the preview pane without downloading images. Also, a person might keep an email in his inbox and open it several times to review the information. Or he might open it and immediately dump it. The point is that while open rates should definitely be considered in your email marketing campaign, it’s important to understand that they provide only relative information, not hard data.

What Should My Open Rate Goal Be?

While open rates can’t be relied on too heavily in terms of recording user behavior, they can still be used as a springboard to determine the effectiveness of your email marketing campaign. Using the reports features offered by eConnect Email, you can use open rates in the following ways:

  • Differentiate Total Opens from Unique Opens

Track how many times each recipient opens your email so you can tell if a 30% open rate means 30 out of 100 people opened your email or if only ten people opened it, but read it three times each.

  • Track Clicks Per Open

Opens don’t mean much unless they persuade the viewer to take the next step and click. You need to action on who is clicking, on what links and how many times.

  • Monitor Failed Email Contacts

Bounces and unsubscribe requests can be categorized as failed contacts since the recipient either never received your email, or they decided they don’t want to hear from you again. Keep track of these numbers and use them to determine whether your email marketing strategy needs to switch things up.

Takeaway:

The tools available through the eConnect Email will help gauge how your campaigns are being received although, as you know, even the statistics can’t be taken too seriously.  The more important key to having good readership is great, relevant content.  Over time your subscriber feedback will be more favorable as long as you’re consistently providing helpful and/or meaningful information.

Meet the author:

James Trumbly

James Trumbly

Co-Founder and Director of Business Development for eConnect Email, an email marketing software company. James enjoys spending time at the beach and traveling in his free time. .

Connect with: James Trumbly

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  • Fay Castro
    April 14, 2011 at 12:30 am

    Thoroughly enjoyed reading this. A very good post.

    • James Trumbly
      April 14, 2011 at 11:49 am

      Hi Fay,

      Thanks so much for your comment.

      – James

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